In 1821, Mexico declared its independence from Spain. The sparsely populated Mexican Empire north of the Rio Grande stretched from California to the Gulf of Mexico and inland to the border of the Louisiana Purchase. But the powerful Nununu, the Comanche, claimed much of the same territory east of California and Arizona as the soil of their ancestors. Others called the Numunu sacred ground Comancheria, Land of the Enemy.
Barely 25 years later, Mexican Texas and most of Comancheria had been conquered by an improbable mix of 19th century immigrant adventurers. Mexico del Norte became first an independent republic, then part of the growing United States. The conquerors were idealists, volunteers, generals, lawmen, renegades and industrialists. They overcame the might of armies and emperors, warriors and chiefs, greed and disease, politics and ideology.
In this historical novel, a determined and resourceful young woman influences the Texas struggle for independence, and two rowdy young men begin their separate journeys to fame and fortune in the West. This, the author’s third book, is the prequel in an epic trilogy of the American West.
Plot/Idea: 7 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.50 out of 10
Plot: Wuench's epic historical novel is neatly paced and plotted. Readers will likely be pulled in by the story of a territory's past and find Emily to be a dynamic, evolving character that helps to propel the engaging narrative.
Prose: The author's prose is well-crafted and dynamic. The voice of each character is finely established and distinctive.
Originality: The expansive cast of characters and evident depth of research that informs the narrative helps elevate this novel above standard historical fiction.
Character Development: Emily is an inspiring and engaging character who pointedly drives and humanizes the novel. The heart of the story, the arch that establishes her as the center of Texas independence, is movingly told.
Date Submitted: May 15, 2020